Honey Bee

Apis mellifera

Honey Bee Apis mellifera

Sometimes called the ‘European Honey Bee’, this is the most familiar of all our bees. It is the male drones that we usually see buzzing around the flower borders in summer. They vary from bright honey coloured to grey or dark brown, for Apis mellifera (translates as ‘honey carrying bee’) covers several subspecies or tribes. Sizes queen 16mm, drone 16mm, worker 12mm.

Honey Bee Apis mellifera

Widely domesticated bee and associated with artificial hives manufacturing honey, wax, and other products. They communicate with the language of dance. Essential pollinator of commercial crops and providers of honey and wax.

Honey Bee Apis mellifera

Apart form the man-made hives, they generally nest in the hollows of trees, which are constructed from wax. Each nest may contain thousands upon thousands of bees. Feed on nectar and pollen.

Seen early spring until late into the autumn. Found in a wide range of habitats, especially gardens. Nests usually found in woodland. Widespread and abundant. Native to Africa, the Middle East, and Europe. Populations have suffered depletion where non-native bees have been introduced. A recent threat here in Britain is the mite Varroa jacobsoni which has caused devastation to colonies after its introduction in 1992.


July 204 and 15, rear garden, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2014 and 2015. Nikon D3200, with Sigma 105mm macro lens.

28 thoughts on “Honey Bee

  1. Beautiful photos Pete. I have several good captures of Bees in my photo files. Takes patience and talent to get photographs like you have posted here. Good job.

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  2. Fantastic post Pete. I’ve been thinking to write a post on bees for a while, but they are just so interesting and there is so much information about them that I can’t decide what to write! Great close-ups too!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you very much, Laura 🙂 Quite some years back I wrote a small book on bees, only for me though, and not publication. I have always loved bees, especially bumblebees. It’s amazing how many species there are when you really start looking. You should give it a go writing about bees. They are fascinating!

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      1. Yes, one day I must sit down and try. Considering that in Australia alone we have over 1,500 native bee species, it blows my mind how many there must be in the world! They are indeed fascinating and incredibly intelligent.

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      2. I think there are around 20,000 different species of bee worldwide. I can’t wait for spring to see some of the first bumblebees to appear 🙂

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  3. Love the bees and your images.
    I was stung on the cheek with one a few years back and try to keep my distance these days.
    They say that if/when the bees ever die out, that will be the end of the earth as we know it. I was reading only recently that we have 1500 species of native bee in Australia – who would have guessed it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Vicki 🙂 I had the same nasty experience with a wasp on my ear, and it does make you a bit more cautious. Yes, heard that about the bees, and how if they died out we would too due to lack of effective pollination. That is a fair few number of bees on your side of the pond, Vicki. I don’t think we have anywhere near that many here.

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  4. Thanks. I loved being on this beautiful journey into the land of the bees and flowers.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. 🙂 My name is Anna Lisa (Just for the record…though I really do like the name Becca).. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Lol… No, I guess the name Becca is too far from how I see myself, after all, so I prefer your calling me AnnaLisa , or Anna, or Lise.. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Jude 🙂 I remember reading somewhere that if we lost the bees the human population may well starve due to lack of pollination of various food crops.

      Like

  5. Dude, your photos give me a great buzz! You should really look into opening up a little gallery somewhere!
    BTW – My mother was a professional bee-keeper in Germany. She moved to Canada in the 50’s and eventually set up a hive in our yard during my teens. She used give me a few drones to let crawl over my hands b/c they had no stingers.

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